Hawkwind, Hawkwind (1970)
Like most humans who’ve never actually been in the band — there are still five or 10 of us left; we get together on weekends — I am viciously underqualified to discuss the life and times of Hawkwind. I haven’t even seen the BBC documentary, though I have to wonder how more than four (I think it was three at the time) decades of space-rock pioneering could possibly be summarized in a single viewing anyway. In any case, all of Hawkwind‘s groundbreaking, all of their lysergic push, all the drugs, all the riffs, and their insurmountable discography — they continue to release albums; I interviewed Dave Brock a few years back about one of them — all began with their 1970 self-titled debut. If you’re looking for the launch point, this would be it.
At the time, Hawkwind was Brock on vocals/guitar/keys, Nik Turner — who’s touring this fall with his own incarnation of the band — on sax/vocals, guitarist/vocalist Huw Lloyd, bassist/vocalist John A. Harrison, synth/key specialist Michael “Dikmik” Davies and drummer Terry Ollis. I doubt any of them could’ve known the movement they were beginning or the litigation they’d eventually undertake when they recorded this album live with The Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor, but as they continued to refine their sound (and lineup) over the next five years, getting through the classic 1971 outing, In Search of Space, en route to albums like 1974’s Hall of the Mountain Grill 1975’s Warrior on the Edge of Time, it became apparent that what they were doing was more than just the standard psychedelic fare, and the rhythmic thrust that became their signature is still widely influential today, 40-plus years after the fact.
That thrust is hardly writ large over the self-titled, but as you can hear as the record plays out, Hawkwind were pretty much making it up as they went along, and of course the tradeoff for self-realization on the part of a band is a necessary narrowing of focus. Hawkwind, the album, is all the more varied for the fact that the band hadn’t really taken shape yet, and so it captures a moment that, in all their releases, studio, live and whatever else, would never come again.
I hope you enjoy.
Tomorrow night, I’m going to drive north to Portland, Maine, to see the last of the three slated We’re all Gonna Die reunion shows. They’re playing with Murcielago and Blackwolfgoat, so I’m expecting a good time and a late night both. I haven’t been to a show in more than a month, with the move and all, so I’m very much looking forward to getting out for a bit and hearing something loud. The plan is to review on Monday.
Also Monday, I may or may not have a Steak video premiere? I’m not sure what’s going on with the timing of that, or if I’m doing a premiere or it’s just coming out, or what the deal really is. I figure it’ll get sorted sooner or later and I’ll adjust accordingly. While I’m talking about nascent plans that may or may not fall through, I got offered a Funeral Horse album stream today that I’d very much like to do because that band rules that I was hoping to do Tuesday. Got my fingers crossed it comes together.
The party don’t stop either way, though. Tuesday night High on Fire play the Sinclair in Cambridge and I’ll be out for that, because if you’re gonna jump back in, do it like you mean it, and I’ll hope Wednesday to get a piece up on that. More Radio Adds to come, and hopefully a review of the Witch Mountain record, which is a little more bittersweet now that Uta Plotkin has announced it’ll be her last with the band. So it goes.
Of course there’s other stuff too, but I can’t possibly imagine what it might be because my mind is in full-on Hawkwind drift. We’ll just have to figure it out when we get there.
Please have an excellent, safe weekend. Eat ice cream and kick ass, because you can.
And don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.